Television: Color Crosses Over

After years of video apartheid, African American-oriented sitcoms are starting to reach white viewers

Two of the major networks' new hit sitcoms star black men. This would not have been news in the era of mass-market TV 10, 20 or 30 years ago, when white and black Americans alike would expend a few brain cells following the high jinks of Fred Sanford, the Fresh Prince and Steve Urkel. But in the mid-'90s, as the new "netlets" UPN and the WB added African-American sitcoms to draw an audience eager to see people on TV who looked like them, the big networks went even whiter. White folks watch Friends, and black folks watch Steve Harvey, so held...

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